Background – The introduction of anti-TNF agents represented a landmark in the management of both Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), with improved efficacy and safety when compared with conventional treatment. However, significant challenges still exist in Latin America to facilitate the access of biological agents for physicians and patients.
Objective – The aim of this review was to summarize current evidence on penetration of biological agents for CD and UC in Latin America.
Methods – Data are derived from a previous complete systematic review that explored different characteristics of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) in Latin America. The studies fully included in this previous systematic review which contained detailed descriptions of the percentage of use of biological agents in different cohorts throughout Latin American and Caribbean countries were included, and descriptive findings were compiled, describing CD and UC penetration of these drugs in different patient cohorts from different countries.
Results – From the 61 studies included in the original systematic review, only 19 included data of the percentage of patients treated with biological agents. Anti-TNF use in CD varied from 1.51% in Mexico up to 46.9% in Colombia, with most of the studies describing anti-TNF use in approximately 20%–40% of CD patients. On the other side, the frequency of the use of biologics was clearly lower in UC, varying from 0% in 2009 to up 16.2% in 2018, according to two different Mexican studies. Only two studies described the penetration of anti-TNF agents in IBD overall: 13.4% in a Colombian and 37.93% in a Brazilian study. No studies described percentage of use of new biologic agents (vedolizumab and ustekinumab).
Conclusion – Penetration of anti-TNF agents in Latin America is comparable to the rest of the world in CD, but lower in UC. With the increase in the incidence and prevalence of IBD, specific strategies to increase access to anti-TNF agents in UC and new biological agents overall are warranted.
HEADINGS – Crohn disease. Ulcerative colitis. Inflammatory bowel disease. Biological therapy. Latin America.
Quaresma AB, Coy CSR, Damião AOMC, Kaplan GG, Kotze PG.
Arq Gastroenterol. 2019;56(3):317-21